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Weblog Entry

Motion Type

August 13, 2007

No doubt you caught the “Pulp Fiction in Typography” video going around a few months back. Ever since I’ve been noticing plenty of interesting cases of motion and type being used together to visually narrate audio.

Some are lush and detailed with accompanying illustration or video, whereas others are spartan and plain; simple colours and minimal type are used to effectively illustrate ideas, and that’s about it. The latter are harder to pull off, but demonstrate how effective graphic and motion design can be when done well.

Taken from a variety of sources like movie clips, songs, and grad projects, there are a lot of neat typography experiments on YouTube. I’ve curated a few I thought were particularly good. Enjoy!

(Note that some of these have language that many will find offensive. Proceed with caution.)

Update: Bonus link that I missed first time around - Hey Ya!

pooya says:
August 13, 15h

These are AWESOME in a typographic way!

Mike D. says:
August 13, 16h

Don’t forget about Simon Robson’s (Knife Party) “What Barry Says” either. That’s good times:

Scott says:
August 13, 16h

Amazing typography and design skills in those videos. Never knew about this before - thanks for informing! I’ll have to keep an eye out for more of these in the future.

August 13, 16h

Cool stuff. I had never seen any of this. Thanks.

Ben says:
August 13, 18h

Makes me want to learn Adobe After Effects. Thanks for the vids.

August 13, 20h

Is After Effects the tool to do that sort of thing? I’ve never even looked at it; buying expensive software sight-unseen is painful, so I haven’t even investigated it. What other software packages exist for that sort of thing? I imagine some of the big 3d packages could do it (Maya, XSI, etc.), but I have no real knowledge of their capabilities.

Every time I see awesome motion graphics, I wonder what application is used to create it and how difficult it would be to pick up. It would be an amusing tool to have on the belt.

Ben says:
August 13, 20h

I’m pretty sure a few of those YouTube videos said that the animations were made in After Effects. Yeah, the others can probably do it also. I too don’t know much about these programs, but I have After Effects at work, so maybe one of these days I can mess around with it. Wonder if there’s any good instructional sites…

Octave Z says:
August 14, 00h

Don’t forget amazing work from the Vancouver Film school by Boca (aka Marcos Ceravolo) and Ryan Uhrich.

trovster says:
August 14, 01h

After seeing the “Pulp Fiction in Typography” I went on a similar search myself. Nice finds above. My personal interest is movies and I remember a few good opening credit typographical examples. Recently Die Hard 4.0 (or Live Free Die Hard) was good and in similar style to those above. However, I also recommend checking out the “Thank You For Smoking” opening titles at

If you interested in general typography on screen, at has TV idents (who’d’ave guessed it) which are usually good use of typography.

Finally, I found some very cool animations and shorts (some involving typography) at Motionographer which are definitely worth checking out.

Finally, if anyone finds some good tutorials on the subject, I would appreciate looking at them. Cheers.

Alberto says:
August 14, 03h

I didn’t see the “Pulp Fiction in Typography” before. Really a good job. In my opinion it’s made with maya. I found but it’s a very lower quality.

JanCBeck says:
August 14, 07h

Also notable:

Dave S. says:
August 14, 08h

@Octave Z - “Don’t forget amazing work from the Vancouver Film school by Boca (aka Marcos Ceravolo) and Ryan Uhrich.”

I didn’t, that’s the one in the top row, center. But thanks for the higher-res version.

@Trovster - “I also recommend checking out the “Thank You For Smoking” opening titles at

Ah, can’t believe I forgot to give that one a mention. Thanks!

August 14, 13h

I had the exact same thought: after seeing “Pulp fiction in typography” I searched youtube for more examples.
After finding about 30+ nice motion type movies, I decided to post a movie every day for a whole month…. this month (August).

I started my series almost the same as yours.

Because the month is not finished yet, there are still about 15 more to come:

Dan Boyle says:
August 14, 13h

Speaking of nice film credits… check out Eurotrip (yes, that bad teen movie from a couple years ago). The film itself is totally forgettable, except for a few moments), but the opening credits remind me of many of these pieces.

Pedro says:
August 14, 16h

Nice compilation! take a look at this one: , a full music video-clip by Cuarteto de Nos, an uruguayan band that usually writes sharp and speedy lyrics. It’s clearly inspired by the Marcelus Wallace’s clip, but it’s really good and long, very hard work put into it.

Too bad it’s in spanish (for the non spanish speakers) because almost every phrase has a graphic relevant to the meaning, but nevertheless it’s worth the look!!


Mig Reyes says:
August 14, 22h

Thanks for the plug, Dave!

August 16, 10h

If anyone wants to try something like this with one of our music beds, we’d be interested in talking with you… we won’t even charge you for the license! :)

But seriously, we’d love to do some promo for our new site in this style, as I think using text-only design allows the music to be really impactful.

Tom says:
August 16, 16h

Dave You made a great list of typography experiments on YouTube! My favourite is also The Hush Sound - The Lions Roar. They make it on Maya or 3D studio MAX or something else?

August 17, 13h

Not only do these types of things make me appreciate typography a lot more, it really makes me appreciate the talented voice actors that have the ability to convey emotion through just one of our senses.

That original Samuel L. Jackson clip from the past was a real eye-opener in that sense as the surrounding typography illustrated just how emotive he really was being.

August 17, 18h

Probably said before, but the introduction sequences in Casino Royale were quite fantastic. Not typography, but very similar. Also, the end credits of 300 weren’t bad either.

Michael says:
August 20, 09h

Is this type of thing not done in livetype and final cut pro?

Some great stuff none the less.

I am going to be attempting something like this myself shortly.

Anyone know of a good tutorial.

The pulp fiction one blew me away

August 20, 22h

I really love these I really do. I need to make my own little typography motion.

August 21, 02h

Man…that’s some creative stuff. Thanks for the find. I love the Ocean’s Eleven one best. Apart from the typography I think the spacial approach is pretty awesome to in some of them.

Samir says:
August 21, 03h

Great selection of videos Dave. I haven’t come across any of these before, so I am very thankful for the find. But, I have seen the opening titles for “Thank You For Smoking”, and I second your recommendation (I loved the movie too).

@Nick Husher & Michael - Tools of the Trade
After Effects was probably used in many of these because it does have some very robust animation capabilities. That combined with its video processing and effects fuctions make it very suitable for this sort of work. I am guessing Final Cut Pro could also be put to similar uses, and I’m sure Flash is also a poular choice.

3D animation software can be very useful in creating graphic animations. They have the added advantage of having not just animation capabilities but also lighting, and the ability to work in the 3rd dimension in a much more free-from way than allowed by regular video and effects packages.

I have no experience with Maya and XSI, but I have done similar work in the Open Source Blender. software. It is growing into a very capable platform and the reason I used it for a corporate video project I was working on was that it has video editing and effects functionality built in, so things like overlays, motion-blur, bloom effects can be all worked on under the same interface. It can be a bit of a challenge to get to grips with in the beginning, but then what complex graphic software isn’t?

I don’t have this documented on my site yet, so here are some shots of what I created:

The fact that the final image needs to be “rendered”, means that a very wide range of visual effects can be created. So, 3D software is a very flexible (if slightly complex) solution for producing motion graphics.

August 21, 06h

It can even be done with sport content… (language warning!)

Chris Armstrong says:
August 22, 16h

this is nice too

Gianluca Negrello says:
August 27, 01h

No doubt!

Nalon says:
September 02, 01h

What is interesting is that Mike #2 already mentioned the very well animated and well done, political pamphlet “What Barry Says”, but that there is no reaction whatsoever to such content. Are we graphic designers that occupied with design and form only that we have no interest in what is actually said in our works?

“What Barry Says”

Squarepusher animation, a very old one from around 2003 (kinda NSFW), but imagine the time and effort it took in those days to animate stuff in flash.

Sam de Groot says:
September 05, 07h


September 18, 07h

Yeah - after effects I reckon. It’s a hefty price tag unless you’re really serious about what your doing though.

Marc Levy says:
November 24, 23h

Some great videos! As a hip hop and Pulp Fiction fan I was particularly drawn to ‘The Hit Song’ and the ‘Pulp Fiction’ ones. Although they are all great!

Great post, loved it!

Steven says:
December 02, 15h

Hey, Im trying to do a kinetic typography piece for a project I’m working on. I have Adobe After Effects but havent used it yet. Anyone have any ideas or tutorials on how to create these?

Or if anyone has any ideas of audio I could use, that’d be Fantastic!

February 06, 04h

Speaking about screen typography-related issues, there is a page about movie company logos seen in various movies (, like the famous “30th Century Fox” joke from Futurama and melting Warner Bros logo in Terminator 3.